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A GEORGE III ORMOLU, SILVER AND AGATE MUSICAL TIMEPIECE TABLE CLOCK
A GEORGE III ORMOLU, SILVER AND AGATE MUSICAL TIMEPIECE TABLE CLOCK
A GEORGE III ORMOLU, SILVER AND AGATE MUSICAL TIMEPIECE TABLE CLOCK
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A GEORGE III ORMOLU, SILVER AND AGATE MUSICAL TIMEPIECE TABLE CLOCK
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A MUSICAL TABLE CLOCK BY JAMES COX FROM THE COLLECTION OF KING FAROUK I THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
A GEORGE III ORMOLU, SILVER AND AGATE MUSICAL TIMEPIECE TABLE CLOCK

JAMES COX, LONDON, CIRCA 1766

Details
A GEORGE III ORMOLU, SILVER AND AGATE MUSICAL TIMEPIECE TABLE CLOCK
JAMES COX, LONDON, CIRCA 1766
CASE: in the Rococo manner, the drum case of the timepiece with paste gem bezel and urn finial with dragon surmount, on a waisted pedestal to the upper case with coloured and clear paste gem set flowering urns to the upper angles and raised on dragon feet, the lower case in the form of a commode with conforming urn finials, lattice, foliate and C-scroll mounts to the agate panels, with paste gem flower-heads for musical tune selection and trip together with covered winding hole to the front panel, the lower apron modelled with a ribbon-tied mask over a faux musical staff, the feet with bearded satyr masks supported by elephants, later plate with sound fret to the underside
DIALS: the white enamel timepiece dial with Roman hours, Arabic minutes and steel hands and signed 'Jas. Cox London', the glazed rear with enamel 'SLOW FAST' adjustment, the later gilt heightened blue and white enamel moonphase dial to the upper case within a gilt mask to show the phases on the moon and numbered '0-5-10-15-20-25-29½' for the age, the rear with subsidiary gilt dial and steel minute/setting hand and engraved '15-30-45-60', later bezels to front and rear
TIMEPIECE MOVEMENT: the later Swiss pocket watch movement with lever escapement, late 19th century
MOONPHASE MOVEMENT: with later miniature carriage clock type movement with lever escapement, 19th century, with linkage to trip the musical movement below on the hour
MUSICAL MOVEMENT: the original chain fusee movement playing four tunes from a 58 mm. pin barrel carillon via 15 hammers to eight bells, with trip mechanism and square cam for tune selection to the front plate
14 5/8 in. (37.2 cm.) high; 6½ in. (16.5 cm.) wide; 5½ in. (14 cm.) deep
Provenance
His Majesty Farouk I, King of Egypt and Sudan, until 1952.
Sold by Order of the Government of the Republic of Egypt, Koubbeh Palace, Cairo, advised and catalogued by Sotheby & Co., The Palace Collections of Egypt, 10 - 20 March 1954, lot 617, £3,982 10s to Wartski, London.
With Desoutter, 1956.
Sold by Wartski to an English Collector, 28 June 1957.
With Wartski, 1962.
Private Collection 1960s and by descent.
Sold, Bonhams, London, 12 December 2012, lot 18, to the present owner.
Literature
The Antique Dealers' Fair and Exhibition catalogue, Grosvenor House, London, Wartski advertisement, p. 83.
'Antiques Collector', July 1956, Desoutter advertisement.
C.I.N.O.A. International Art Treasures Exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2 March - 29 April 1962, catalogue no. 224, plate 138. Ian White English Clocks for the Eastern Markets, Ticehurst, 2012, fig. 7.9, p. 171.
Exhibited
C.I.N.O.A. International Art Treasures Exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2 March - 29 April 1962, catalogue no. 224.

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Lot Essay

CABINET CLOCKS BY JAMES COX
The principal component parts of the present clock appear throughout the oeuvre of James Cox. His clock cases and necessaires mostly display elements common to all, from boldly cast Rococo mounts, a variety of animals including lizards, elephants and lions to the feet and vase finials combined throughout with 'caged' specimen panels of polished agate. Of his known output today there are few of exactly the same design. Of the present model one other example, with whirligig rather than moonphase, is known in a private European collection (see White, p. 174, fig. 7.13). A cabinet clock with drum-shaped whirligig supported by figures may be seen in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing (see Treasures from the Forbidden City, afb. 26, p. 41). The top section of the present clock is of the same design as the upper section of a cabinet clock attributed to Cox sold anonymously Christie's, London, 17 May 2011, lot 183 (£211,250). The most elaborate Cox clock of related design to appear in recent years is probably the Westminster Swan Clock, the property of The Duke of Westminster, sold Christie's, London, 7 June 2007, lot 125 (£356,000). The cabinet form base appears relatively frequently albeit with a flat rather than domed top. Examples are to be found in the Gilbert Collection (Victoria and Albert Museum), London (White, op. cit, p. 168, fig. 7.5a) and the Palace Museum, Beijing (Lu Yangzhen op. cit , p. 112). The domed top with pierced sound fret is possibly to accommodate a larger musical movement as on the present example. Many of the surviving cabinets of this type have dated keys which are variously dated between 1765 and 1772 giving a good guide as to the period of production. The present key is dated 1766, the same year as James Christie founded his auction rooms.

SALES BY JAMES CHRISTIE
As a result of some subsidence in trade Cox established a private creditor's commission which in turn lead to the first sales at Christie's in July and December 1772. Another followed in March 1779 but the most significant was the final sale of February 1792, held in Christie's Great Room in Pall Mall. The catalogue listed some fifty-five pieces, albeit offered as one lot, the purchaser having to collect from Canton.

JAMES COX
Cox (1723 - 1800) operated as a jeweller and goldsmith from his London premises at Shoe Lane, off Fleet Street. He was perhaps more in the style of a Continental marchand mercier as he also acted as agent for a number of Swiss watchmakers. His entrepreneurial nature led him to purchase the Chelsea Porcelain Factory from Nicholas Sprimont in 1769, only to sell it the following year to William Duesbury's Derby concern.
The St. James's Chronicle of 27-29 August 1772 reported that a shipment of 'English Toys' had been refused entry to China and had returned to London. This appears to have been the impetus behind Cox's opening of a Museum at Spring Gardens, Charing Cross, where the paying public could view his stock in trade. It was in the kunstkammer tradition and such private museums of curiosities were much in evidence at this period; such as Sir Ashton Lever's 'Leverian' (opened 1775) and later William Bullock's 'Egyptian Hall' (opened 1811). Cox's Museum ceased in 1775 when the contents were sold via a Public Lottery. Cox's son, John Henry, also oversaw the firm in a variety of guises operating from Canton and London but its success of the late 1760s and 1770s was its zenith with exports to China, India and Russia.

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
Clare Le Corbeiller, 'James Cox: A Biographical Review', The Burlington Magazine, June 1970, pp. 350-358.
Catherine Pagani 'The Clocks of James Cox', Apollo, January 1988, pp. 15-22.
Lu Yangzhen (chief editor) Timepieces Collected by the Qing Emperors in the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995.
Derek Roberts, Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy Clocks, Atglen, 1999, pp. 165-177.
Roger Smith, 'James Cox: A Revised Biography', The Burlington Magazine, June 2000, pp. 353-361.
Wely/van Leeuwen/Lefeber-Morsman/Smith/Fuxiang/Xueling Treasures from the Forbidden City, Museum Speelklok, Utrecht, 2010.
Ian White English Clocks for the Eastern Markets, Ticehurst, 2012, pp. 165-175.

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